AEconomic View April 2018 In this edition: • Interview with Assoc. Prof. Anne Gieling • An academic perspective on the gender wage gap • Updates from AEclipse • And more!
Foreword Dear Reader, It has been a great academic year so far and in this AEconomic view we look back at some of the many great events we had. You will read about the memorable constitution drink of this year and the insightful guest lecture of Sandra Phlippen. Also, the famous and very competitive Student vs Staff table tennis tournament is in this edition. Both the National Economic Olympiad 2018 and International Research Project Winter Symposium were a great success and were true highlights ofthis year and will therefore be in this edition as well! All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed organizing it and we are glad you came to these events. With the AEconomic view this year, we want to not only reflect on what we have done, but we will also include a segment done in collaboration with the jEURnalist. Costanza Gambarini and Hyundo Jhee worked together with us to interview Associate Professor Anne Gielen and also write articles for our segment on the gender wage gap! We hope you will enjoy reading this issue!
Sincerely, Francesco Gagliardi Alexandros Achilleos Andrew Gebhard Gijs Casteleins
Contents Pictures from AEclipse Events
Reports from AEclipse Events
Interview with Assoc. Prof. Anne Gieling
This Editions Articles in collab. with Jeurnalist Gender Quotas and the Wage Gap Poverty is a Girl Women in Power
21 21 23 26
Pictures of: Kickoff
AEclipse in: Brussels
Constitution Drink (COBO)
Drink with NEO and Panel
t was a cold Wednesday night, the sky was dark and the rain could have started in every moment. Many Aeclipse members were still at the university library rushing to finish the industrial organization assignment. The conditions were not the best for a night of fun and free alcohol. Nevertheless many students found the strengths to reach De Stoep for what it would have resulted to be a great night. One (and probably the main) reason many people decided to come was the fact that drinks were completely free. After all, a good economics student would never say no to something when it is free. The reactions were different and they ranged from people ordering three beers at the same time, people deciding to go for something stronger and forward looking people ordering a beer and a glass of water. In any case it was a good incentive for the members to come to the event and even who arrived saying â€œI will just drink one beer and then I will go homeâ€? ended up staying until 2 or 3 am.
Although to a first and very quick sight it might have not seemed so, the event was full of traditions. The first one, and probably the one that everyone noticed, was the obligation for the board members to drink everything that was offered to them. Respecting their duties they bravely did not show any sign of disappointment when asked to drink first a bottle of tequila (kindly offered by the previous board) and then
Constitution Drink (COBO) a bottle of vodka. The remaining traditions consisted in the boards of the other associations trying to steal the guest book, a board member or the big wooden stick and, at the end, only one of the three got stolen. Indeed, while the guest book was just full of weird and senseless drawings and the board members managed to run fast enough (some of them coming back after 10 minutes just to be sure no one would have tried to kidnap them again) the stick was unfortunately stolen. For all the night it seemed in friendly hands, wet with beers and spirits but safe. However, when no one was able Drink with NEO and Panel to look after it anymore at around 2 am it got stolen by an Enactus member. The people of Aeclipse were too tired or too indisposed for reacting to that being left with the only choice to look at it disappearing in the darkness. Overall it was a great event where the members had the opportunity to relax and not to think about studying for a night while meeting new people. The 22nd board is now officially installed and there would have not been a better way of celebrating this formality. The comments about the night were positive while the faces during the lectures the day after and the very low attendance at the 9 am class were the clear result of a fun and enjoyed night.
COBO 2018 By Francesco Gagliardi
Guest Lecture #1: Sandra Phlippen
n the 6th of December 2017 Aeclipse hosted its first guest lecture of the year. For this occasion the organizers decided to invite Sandra Phlippen, who completed a PhD at the Tinbergen Institute and is currently chief economist at AD. She demonstrated to be an easy going and available person from the very beginning, discussing and proposing herself the topic to present during the event. Because of the small size of the room and her approachability, the lecture turned out to be an open discussion about Paradise Papers, Bitcoins and the pension schemes in the Netherlands.
For all the three topics the guest started with a short presentation to explain the background and then she used the remaining time to discuss about it. The event resulted to be more similar to a friendly discussion about economics than a formal guest lecture. Having completed a PhD in economics she was
Guest Lecture #1: Sandra Phlippen very prepared on all the topics and she added very interesting ideas to the discussion. The audience of the event was composed not only by students of economics but also by people from the finance masters and this helped to make the discussion more interesting and diverse with many different points of view. The three topics were treated in different ways. When talking about bitcoins, for example, most of the time was dedicated to discuss the issues and potentialities and there was not the need of a too long introduction while for the Paradise Paper part Sandra took some more time for explaining it. Among the most interesting facts that she presented, there is the role that the Netherlands had in the scandal. Due to its low corporate tax rates many firms moved the money to the Netherlands and then to Panama making the European country a key place for the whole story. Discussing and asking questions the two hours passed quickly and the participants went home enriched by a well-organized event. Overall it was, indeed, an enjoyed lecture that allowed the attendants not only to learn how the economic analysis can be applied to the everyday news but also to actively participate and discuss with a well prepared guest. This was the first guest lecture organized in this academic year but many more are coming in the next future and if we take the quality and the interestingness of the first as benchmark for the future ones we can all be sure that there will be many possibilities to enrich our knowledge and to learn something new during the year.
Guest Lecture #1: Sandra Phlippen By: Francesco Gagliardi; Interviewee: HarriĂŤt Prins
Students vs. Staff: Table Tennis
Prof. Emami Namini
hursday 31st of January Aeclipse hosted a Student vs Staff table tennis tournament where participants could compete against course mates and professors. Everything started with few students that arrived earlier waiting at the sport bar and the professors coming inside in a compact group probably with the aim of instilling fear in the enemies. Once entered in the room everyone felt the typical excitement before an event, when everything can still happen and everyone imagine themselves rising the first place prize to the sky. After a quick warmup the tournament was ready to start and Dani (the organizer) explained the rules and the general division of the groups. Probably one of the worst explanation ever seen in a table tennis tournament. When a professor asked to repeat everyone felt better in discovering not to be the only one not understanding the explanation.
The tournament started and most of the students tried to avoid to be at the same table with the two favorites: professor Emami-Namini and professor Swank. Surprisingly after a couple of matches won without any problems (precisely 11-0 and 11-1) professor Swank lost against Reuben (president of Aeclipse) and had to leave the tournament prematurely. As a general rule to understand who had more possibilities to pass the turn everyone was looking at how people were dressed. Students wearing a hoodie and jeans were usually the ones losing 11-0 while students that decided to change
Students vs. Staff: Table Tennis and wear sport clothes were the more skilled ones. As a result, looking at a match it could have been quite easy to guess the winner by just looking at the outfits. When the semifinals started the atmosphere was more relaxed as many people abandoned their competitive mood and switched to the â€œok I lost, never mind letâ€™s chillâ€? mood. David found himself with the camera in his hands and took that task a bit too seriously as he started to take pictures of everything that was moving around him, being it a participant of Drink with NEO and Panel the tournament, the table tennis ball or a fly. The semifinals were longer (the points needed to win were 21) and the 4 players were very skilled with only professor Emami-Namini left to represent the professors side. After two very intense matches and a quick break the winners were ready to start the most important game that this year was not including a professor. The final was even more intense than the previous games and the tension was palpable. At the end Mantas won a well-played game. After a shake of hands the prize was handled to the winner and the deserved picture with the organizer ended the tournament. The social activities however were not finished and after tidying up the room everyone headed to the bar for a well-deserved beer that every serious sport event has to have at the end. Overall it was a competitive event that everyone enjoyed as it turned out to be more a social activity than just a mere sport tournament. Thanking the Internal Affairs committee for having organized it and the people who participated we can only look forward to the next sport tournament for having a rematch, challenge the course mates and, depending on the priorities, having a beer after it.
Students vs. Staff: Table Tennis By: Francesco Gagliardi
National Economic Olympiad
Drink with NEO and Panel
clipseâ€™s NEO Committee and the Erasmus School of Economics, are really proud to announce that the National Economic Olympiad 2018 has been a great success! For a day, Erasmus University Rotterdam has hosted 15 teams made up by the best students coming from 6 universities all over the country. They have given their best in a 3-hour full immersion competition, to obtain the Title of Champions of this Second Edition. Compared to last year, the Olympiad has been particularly tough: 9 questions about a wide range of subjects, from Behavioural Economics to Policy Economics, plus one very recent Case proposed by the Central Planning Bureau, have required the maximum concentration to be solved.
National Economic Olympiad To give an idea, the average score has been about 28/100. Nevertheless, three teams have overcome 40 points. The winning team, The Arrow, composed by Olivier Kooi, Sjors van Wickeren and Andreea Livadariu, has imposed its supremacy on the other two teams, with just respectively 1 and 2 points of distance. However, the Olympiad is not only about competition, but it’s especially a reason to enjoy a full day dedicated to the economic matters. This has been the purpose of the NEO Panel Discussion 2018, where the participants Drink with NEO and Panel had the opportunity to hear and discuss about the “Need of a European Ministry of Finance” with three renown speakers: Reinhard Felke (Deputy Head of Cabinet of Pierre Moscovici, European Commission), Ivo Arnold (Professor of Monetary Economics) and Auke Zijlstra (Member of the European Parliament for PVV). The high general participation and the fruitful interaction born between the speakers and the audience can be considered as another relevant goal for the organizer committee. To release the stress of the day, a conclusive drink has been what everyone needed. Between a pint of beer and a glass of wine, the speakers have mixed in the cohort of student, enjoying the time spent discussing, but even more importantly students from different teams and universities have mixed themselves, exchanging ideas and building relation between them. Because, after all, this is the spirit of an Olympiad: doing the best to reach the top, and build bridges between people.
NEO 2018 By: Cristiano Giordano
International Research Project: Symposium 1
Guest Speakers at Symposium
he 16th of February the International Research Project committee organized its Winter Symposium with the title: the economics of Africa. The participants had the opportunity to get insights into African development economics and to see how firms operate in that sector with a workshop in the morning and a conference in the afternoon.
In the first part of the day the students had to choose between two workshops. The first one was held by Trinomics, an economic consultancy specialized in Energy, Environment and Climate Change that showed how it is like to provide consultancy services for the public sector by discussing a recent case study related to the energy sector in Africa. The second one was presented by the FMO, the Dutch Development Ban. They gave the participants the chance to work on a case study based on how to conduct economic impact assessments within developing countries.
After the lunch all the participants headed to the room assigned to host the conference. The first speaker was Hans Docter, Director for Sustainable Economic Development at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His tasks are to create opportunities in developing countries by providing access to finance for the private sector and he was also responsible for the coordination of the Dutch efforts to help eradicate Ebola in
International Research Project: Symposium 1 its most recent outbreak. His talk was aimed at explaining how the Dutch government is committed to provide aid to the African nations and what it actually does to help the local entrepreneurs.
Drink with NEO and Panel
The second speaker was Anton Timpers, Senior Investment Officer at the Dutch Development Bank (FMO). After an introduction on the role of FMO in the economic development, his speech touched his main topics of interest: the contribution to the sustainable development goals, agribusiness and farmer finance ending with examples of inclusive business models in
The third guest was Mirco Goudriaan, Policy Coordinator at the department for Sustainable Economic Development at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A fun fact is that he studied at the Erasmus University and he was one of the first members of the, at that time, newly born Aeclipse. His part focused on the tasks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and how the investments are managed. The last speaker was Peter Knorringa, the Director at the Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa (CFIA) and Professor of Private Sector & Development at the institute of Social Studies, which is part of Erasmus University. Being one of his researches about how frugal innovations can contribute to a sustainable development, his part was mainly focused on this innovation and how it can help the African countries. Frugal innovation is referred as the process of reducing the cost of an object by removing its unnecessary parts and examples are cars, fridges and mobile banking. Finally the last section of the event consisted in a panel discussion with questions asked by the participants. Because of the interactivity of this part it resulted to be very engaging and many interesting discussions came up with the hosts that could not discuss all the topics because of time constraints. The event ended with some drinks offered by Aeclipse where the students had the possibility to talk in person with the hosts and to continue the interesting debate started during the panel discussion.
By: Francesco Gagliardi
IRP Winter Symposium
INTERVIEW: ASSOC. PROF. ANNE GIELEN Authors: Alexandros Achilleos, Hyundo Jhee, Costanza Gambarini;
Thursday, 15th of March
Anne Gielen, author of “Prenatal testosterone and the Earnings of Men and Women”, discusses wage gap
n Thursday, 15th March, we met with Dr. Anne C. Gielen to discuss the topic of wage gap and how her paper, “Prenatal testosterone and the Earnings of Men and Women” published in the Journal of Human Resources in 2016 relates fits into this debate. We had a very interesting and fruitful conversation with the professor about the determinants of the wage gap. You can read the interview below. (For clarity issues, the questions and answers have been edited but without changing any meaning). Good afternoon Professor Gielen, could you explain to us what drove you into researching about gender wage gap and what led you to write the paper “Prenatal testosterone and the Earnings of Men and Women”? There are a lot of researchers working on the gender wage gap. The difference in the average wages between the two sexes that we cannot explain with individual and job characteristics is what economists call discrimination. But as a researcher I had a feeling that we cannot pin down every factor that drives wage formation. However, if we call this residual term discrimination, you might overstate the real extent of the issue. Surely there is discrimination in the labour market but bluntly saying that everything we cannot explain is discrimination might be a bridge too far. When I was talking to my co-authors we were discussing whether some biological factors that drive human behaviour might explain differences in wages between men and women. If there is a role for biology, we cannot call it discrimination but just behavioural differences. This is why we wanted to see what the role of biology is on the matter. Can you explain to us briefly the scientific foundations of your paper?
“having high testosterone does not pay off the same for women and men”
According to the biological literature, in mammals, if there are several foetuses in the womb, there is a testosterone transfer from the male to the adjacent female foetus. This transfer can be expected to happen also to human twins, since we are mammals too. Hence, me and my co-authors decided to study how testosterone levels affect wages. Clearly there might be many more biological factors that affect labour market outcomes, but we decided to focus only on this aspect. Our aim was to show that
there might be a role for biology in the relationship between gender and wages. In your paper you concluded that having more testosterone can have negative effects on women’s wage. But there is a positive effect on men’s wage. So, is it indeed the case that testosterone increases the wages of men while decreasing the wages of women? No, not necessarily because we are comparing men with a twin brother to men with a twin sister, and similarly, women to women. So, the effect that we describe for women is for women that have a twin brother compared to those who don’t have a twin brother. Since we are comparing women to women it cannot be that their effect is driven by the fact that males earn more. The effect that we find has to do with the effect of the gender of your twin. So how would you explain the relationship between testosterone and wages as described in your paper? The difficulty here is that we do not measure testosterone. We assume that there is a testosterone flow from the twin brother to the twin sister, but we don’t actually measure the amount of testosterone transferred. The fact that we find a negative effect for women does not mean that this testosterone flow is not there. What we argue in the paper is that there is still this testosterone transfer, so these women might act more male-like and the male-like behaviour is being punished in the labour market. Hence, if we believe in the testosterone transfer story, then clearly having high testosterone does not pay off the same for women as it does for men. However, it must be noticed that the transfer of testosterone between embryos is in itself and assumption that we were not able to test or measure. Have recent papers in biology proved the testosterone transfer or is it not yet proven? There is some evidence for other mammals, but clearly one has to keep in mind that biologists run into ethical problems when it comes to measure prenatal testosterone. You can measure the testosterone level in an unborn human foetus but as soon as you start doing that you run the risk of causing a miscarriage. In which ways do you think this paper is relevant in the current debate about wage gap? I think the main relevance for our paper was simply to show that economists should not simply conclude that everything we cannot explain is discrimination. I would say that the main point we wanted to make is that there are so many factors that economists are not aware of, or that we cannot measure, which might play a role in this. The fact that we cannot measure them does not mean that we can lump them together with discrimination. It might not be discrimination, that was the main point. We should investigate much more. How important do you think is the role of biology in explaining the gender gap compared with, for example, social norms? I know that both play a role, but I cannot tell which one is more important. There are many explanations and biology is just one of them. I don’t think it is the most important one but there are so many things. Clearly there can be some discrimination, even though one does not intend to discriminate. Sometimes it can even happen subconsciously. Assuming that biology has indeed a main role in explaining the gender wage gap, would you be in favour of policies that make up for these differences? Or do you think that in this hypothetical scenario the wage gap should be accepted as “natural”?
The honest answer is that I don’t know. I don’t know whether you want to fix biological factors. In addition, I prefer not to say anything about it because I would run into ethical issues. When should we interfere and what does this imply? Does intervening mean that we should start to treat women with male hormones? What’s going to happen then? I cannot say something about it because there are so many aspects I cannot oversee. Would it still be considered a gap, though, if it is something that cannot be influenced by people but by genetics? We talk about a gap if people with equal productivity are paid differently. I can imagine there are occupations in which more testosterone does increase your productivity. In these cases, we cannot call it discrimination or wage gap. However, jobs are different, people are different and there is not just one extent of discrimination. You affirmed that not all that has been called discriminatory might actually be discrimination. Would you say that, besides biological factors, also women’s choices have a role in the wage gap? Based on so many anecdotal evidence that I have seen, some women simply have different preferences. They do not all want to work full time. Sometimes is happens that they have children and they just want to be at home. And we know that a part time job often simply pays worse than a full-time job. I don’t think that this is discrimination, I think that has to do with preferences. Is that wrong? I don’t think so.
“Culture plays an important role here”
Don’t you think that if a woman says she prefers to work part time job that’s because she doesn’t really have a choice since it’s either her or her husband that has to take care of the kids? In my personal experience, I have many female friends who went to college with me, so they are all highly educated, and as soon as they got children many just preferred to be with their children and instead work part time. For them it was a choice. They could have continued working full time and just send the kids to day-care. I just think that people seem to forget that this is also happening, and they just assume that these women continue to work part time because they are being discriminated against. Of course, there are women who want to work full time and cannot, but I don’t think this is always the case. Could it be that women don’t even feel that working part-time is unfair but instead they see it just as what society expects from them? In this case, we may think that working part-time is a preference but in reality, it’s not. It could be. I do agree that culture plays an important role here. For example, women in southern European countries have different labour market patterns than women in northern European countries. Culture does play a role but for me it is difficult to say what is discrimination and what is not. Clearly if a woman wants to do something and she feels that she cannot or she’s being limited, either by the husband or by the work force or whomever, I would definitely call that discrimination. We would now like to take with you a broader look at the gender wage gap issue. Do you think that it’s still a taboo to talk about this issue?
I think that depends on the workplace. For example, here at the university I would not be afraid to say how I feel. But the university, and the academic society in general, is a place in which we accept the fact that people have different ideas and that we don’t always agree. In this business that is not an issue. I do think though that in other sectors it may not always be fine if you don’t agree with your boss. Potentially, in other sectors it might be a bit of a taboo, but I can only speculate because
I’ve never worked in a business environment myself. I’ve always been an academic. Some voices have also been raised against the pay gap. What do you think about the fact that there are people who would deny the existence of pay gap? For example, there was this controversial interview from a psychologist who said that actually the pay gap can be fully explained by other factors that are not discrimination. He also said that pay equality is actually a bad social goal. What do you think about a man making this statement on CNN? The fact that he’s a man doesn’t make a difference for me. If this was a female I would still have said that this is nonsense. Firstly, if you look at the statistics, clearly there is a strong wage gap in many sectors and in many countries. I do believe there are some degrees of discrimination as well.
Besides your individual belief on his work, do you think such a controversial opinion should be part of this debate or should be “censored” as non-sense? As an academic I’m open to everyone’s opinions and I am always ready to engage in a discussion and see where we end up. This psychologist for example has the right to have this opinion, I just don’t agree with him. The fact that there is disagreement is very positive because disagreement creates debates and makes people think about what is right. I actually think that, if we would all agree on the existence of a wage gap, there would be no discussion and people might potentially even forget about the problem. If on the other hand there are some people with some extreme opinions, they would keep the discussion going. What is your opinion regarding women in power and how society perceives them? Do you think they are judged by the public in a different eye than male in power and do you think that this is also reflected in the differences in the wage gap? I’m not sure. I don’t judge them differently but the fact that there are all these policies in place now that say that we should have female quotas in company’s boards seems that people do judge them differently. Even here in the University we aim at stimulating females to reach higher academic positions. The fact that there are all these positive discrimination policies must imply that there currently is room for improvement as to how society perceives males versus females at work. Are you in favour of policies concerning positive discrimination? I’m not necessarily convinced that these policies will help women, because there is a risk of stigma. As soon as a female leader is now appointed, people might wonder whether she was appointed because of her capabilities or whether she was appointed because she was female. I do think there is a risk that all these quotas and positive discrimination might backfire on all the females who make it to the top. Do you think that movements like the #MeToo or #That’sEnough will help moving towards a solution to the issue of wage gap? What I find difficult is that these movements’ propaganda is all directed towards “women are being disadvantaged.” Take the #MeToo discussion for example, which is being directed to the fact that women are being oppressed and are fighting for this to stop. I recently read in the news that a relatively young boy who, after his performance at American Idol, was asked by the judges whether he had kissed already. He answered that he was waiting to find the right girl to give her his first kiss. At that point, Katy Perry stood up and kissed the boy on the cheek. The article was written because people were wondering, is this #MeToo too? If the genders were different, if there was a young woman who had not kissed before and some male person would have kissed her there, we would have been talking about the #MeToo discussion. Now the opposite happened, and no-one was talking about #MeToo. I think this is wrong. So, coming back to the point, I think movements
like #MeToo can be very powerful but the concerns they rise about oppression and safety shouldnâ€™t relate only to women. Could it be that these concerns are targeted mainly to women because as a society we find that they are in a less advantaged position? Could it be that if we changed how we perceive the different genders and we start with treating them equally also the direction and the context of the debate will change? I think that this should be our societyâ€™s main aim: ensuring that everyone is treated equally in every aspect of life. However, by paying too much attention to the fact that people are not equal, I am afraid we are sometimes reinforcing inequality rather than fighting it. Clearly there have been movements which have done a great job in putting this important issue in the spotlight. The fact that we are now talking about this topic is probably a consequence of that. We may have not been talking about this topic 40 years ago. What I personally find difficult is to say how we should move forward from here, what would be the best strategy to create this equality that we all would like to see for everyone.
Gender Quotas and the Wage Gap Author: Alexandros Achilleos
he gender wage gap has been extensively discussed both in politics and within our society as a whole. Politicians have taken steps to fight the gender discrimination. In 2015 Justin Trudeau attracted media’s attention with his gender-equal cabinet. When asked why he chose to have a 50%-50% representation of men and women in the cabinet, he replied by saying “Because it’s 2015”. The fact that there is a gender wage gap and that there is an overrepresentation of males on certain jobs and positions is not something we can argue against. However, the question remains, is forced equality the correct approach as a solution to this problem? In 2003, Norway introduced a policy that required boards of publicly limited liability companies to have a minimum of 40% representation of each gender. A paper published in 2014 by Marianne Bertrand, Sandra E. Black, Sissel Jensen and Adriana Lleras-Muney found that there was indeed a positive effect for the boards of these companies with highly qualified women joining them. This also translated into higher representation of women in the top income distribution. However, when they checked if there were also positive consequences for the rest of the women in the companies, they found that the policy had no impact on them. Even women with similar qualifications as the ones who got a seat at the board were not affected. Overall, the authors found no significant effect on women with the exception of higher representation on the board as required by the law. On the one hand, we might say that such policies might indeed have a positive effect as the increase in female representation on board positions is apparent. Thus, if such policies are introduced in other domains as well, we might be able to fight the gender wage gap. On the other hand, one might question how effective that would be. An argument against such policies might be that forced equality is also a form of discrimination. It might be the case that between two candidates, a male and a female, the latter gets the job thanks to these laws even though the former was more qualified for the position. This will result in a less suitable candidate filling in the position. However, there is also another possibility to consider. It might be that the female candidate is more capable than her counterpart. It won’t be surprising though that people (and I assume it will mainly be males) might argue that the only reason she got the position is because of the positive discrimination law, even though she was indeed the most suitable candidate for the job.
“such policies might have both positive and negative effects for females”
It turns out that such policies might have both positive and negative effects for females. We have seen that gender quotas create positive discrimination and thus higher female representation
in upper-level jobs, which helps reducing the gender wage gap. However, positive discrimination may cause some people to question whether women have reached their positions because of their hard work and skills or because of the gender quotas law. There is one domain though which I believe that discrimination of any kind, even positive discrimination, should not be encouraged, and this is for key public servant positions. In such positions we should have only the most suitable candidates since these are jobs that draw policies and shape our everyday lives. If the most suitable candidates are all of the same gender or a mixture of the two, then I believe these people should be there. It is important though that we make sure citizens are able to choose the most qualified and suitable individuals to lead the nation and shape its policies without any bias or influence. To conclude, gender wage gap is indeed a problem and we need to find a way to eliminate it. Forced discrimination laws, such as the gender quotas, might not be the ideal way but it seems to be a small step forward. There is still a lot to be done and we all need, as a society, to contribute to bring about change. However, we must find ways to do so without sacrificing meritocracy, especially in key positions such as high level public servants.
Poverty is a Girl Author: Costanza Gambarini
omen are poorer than men. This issue was officially recognized in 2000 during the 4th UN Conference on Women that included the eradication of the “persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women” among the twelve critical areas of the Beijing Platform for Action. However, the concept of “feminization of poverty” was introduced much earlier, in 1978, by Diana Pearce, the first researcher who noticed the disproportionate number of women struggling with poverty in the US. At Pearce’s time, two thirds of the poor were women. Nowadays, many studies report 70% as the percentage of the world’s poor being female. However, the World Bank (2018) claimed that 70% to be “zombie statistics”, often reported but without clear source. In a collaboration with the UN Women, the World Bank used its Global Monitoring Database (GMD) to analyse gender differences in welfare. Their study used data from 89 countries, representing the 84% of the population in the developing world for a total of 5.2 billion people. Moreover, they employed the International Poverty Line (less than $1.90 a day) in their estimates. Although, the report states that roughly the 50% of the world’s poor are women, they affirm that poverty is anyway far from being gender neutral (Sanchez, 2018). In particular, unexplained gender differences disproportionately affect young women up to age between 40 and 65, when poverty rates even out. This penalty accounts for 5 million more women living in extreme poverty, especially in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (Sanchez, 2018).
Unequal access to paid work, lower wages, lack of social protection, limited access to assets, including land and property, and denied access to critical resources as credit and inheritance are all factors that contributed to this phenomenon (UN, 2000). A correlation has also been found with a rising
incidence of female household headship, especially in North and South America and in Europe (Fukuda-Parr, 1999). It seems that women who lead their household economically are more prone to poverty and also more likely to transmit poverty to their children (Chant, 2006). Moreover, countries where women are at greater risk of poverty also tend to have an over-representation of â€˜female-onlyâ€™ households - i.e. separated women, widows and single mothers (Chant, 2006). Women worldwide face greater barriers than men when they attempt to lift themselves out of poverty as they lack the resources and services needed to change their situation (Chant, 2006). Even where men and women have the same probability to live in poor households, the income distribution is likely to be uneven (Chant, 2006). Women, in fact, are deprived in other key areas of well-being, such as education and paid work. Globalization has further contributed to the deepening of this trend. The advance of the global markets has led to a reduction in public spending and social programmes, with families, and especially women, bearing an increasing burden of costs (UN Women, 2016). However, these figures are not as easily readable as it may seem at a first glance. In particular, it is unknown how many women and girls are currently living in poverty. A first issue arises because the headcount measure of extreme poverty (individuals who live with less than $1.25 a day) is based on the aggregate household income and, as a consequence, it is difficult to estimate gender differences in poverty. To make up for this, the percentage of working age women living in the bottom 20% of households has been compared with the percentage of men living is such households. The results in Figure 1 show that women are more likely to live in poverty than men in 41 out of 75 countries.
Some researchers disagree that household income is a good estimate of poverty. In fact, many countries of Asia and Africa, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Morocco, Guinea, and Zimbabwe, do not follow the pattern of differences between male- and female-headed households noticed for Western countries (Fukuda-Parr, 1999). These researchers advocate for a broader definition of poverty (a
“human poverty”) that takes into account the most basic human needs: the possibility to live a long, healthy and creative life, with good standards of living, fair opportunities, freedom, dignity, and respect (Fukuda-Parr, 1999). In this sense, society puts many more restrictions on women’s choices and opportunities than it does for men. Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate are women: a total of around 500 million people. About 70 million girls are out of school, which is 3/5 of the overall number (UN Women, 2016). Although biologically advantaged, the gender bias adversely affects women - there are 100 million more men the women in the world (UN Women, 2016). Moreover, women are generally paid less for the same job and are underrepresented as leaders both in the industry and in governmental institutions. Altogether these indicators tell a story of underdevelopment and deprivation, to which women are subject and which represent a truer estimate of “human poverty” than income does. Two indexes have been developed to measure human poverty: the GDI and the GEM. The GDI is based on the Human Development Index (HDI) and assess gender disparities in three main areas: longevity, education, and decent standards of living (income). The GEM is more focused on gender inequality in economic and political opportunities as well as decision-making power. As such it focuses on the share of parliamentary seats occupied by women, the proportion of legislators, senior officials and managers who are women, the female share of professional and technical jobs, and the ratio of estimated female to male earned income. In conclusion, I believe “human poverty” to better picture the real challenges women struggle with all around the world. In particular, politicians and policy-makers should tackle the widespread lack of choices and opportunities women face, if they intend to eradicate poverty. Empowering women is a critical factor to liberate the millions of women caught in the cycle of poverty. In particular, access to economic and educational opportunities should be granted to all girls, as well as the freedom to take advantage of those opportunities (UN Women, 2016).
Women in Power Author: Hyundo Jhee
hroughout history there have been countless women who have sacrificed their lives for the greater good and have stood out from the rest to become leaders of countries or in their fields. From the early 1900s, when the majority of powerful jobs were held by men, to the constant pursuit by the close public eye of today, these women battled the discrimination, judgements and oppression put against them to eventually rise to a power status where they were able to influence the world.
Although not in a position of direct power, Eva Peron, the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 to 1952, was at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights in the country. Her work gave women the right to vote in September 1947 through the Enactment Law . She also set up the Female Peronist Party in 1949. Today, Argentina has one of the world’s highest female parliamentary representation in the world, with Christina Fernández de Kirchner as the country’s
The renowned English television and filmmaker Alan Clarke once wrote in his diary that Eva Perón’s ‘baffling charisma’ was mirrored in arguably the most important woman in British history, Margaret Thatcher. The 1980s were still a time of chauvinism and female oppression, and being the head of the conservative party meant the Iron Lady was under heavy criticism and subject to immense hate, which continued until her death in 2013. Whether her work impacted Britain in a good or in a bad way is up to debate to this day, but her dedication, stone cold grit and charisma is unanimously agreed upon. Thatcher was also infamous for her business-like attitude, and for employing only those who were fit for the job - gender didn’t matter. From this perspective it could be said that Thatcher was a true Feminist; even in times of misogyny she rose through the ranks, and even in power she saw no preferences in gender. Thus, when Theresa May was elected as the new Prime Minister of the UK in 2016, the world turned its head to carefully observe the actions of the new female Prime Minister. May have since been under scrutiny due to Brexit. Her efforts to solidify her power during the 2017 General Elections backfired and ended in a Hung Parliament, but her leadership moderated the right wing parliamentary party, and the threat of members defecting into opposition parties like UKIP has died out.
Mhairi Black has been on the news recently for becoming the first Member of Parliament to use the C-word in Parliament, as she spoke out against the online abuse that she receives – just for being a woman. The Scottish 23-year-old has been on the forefront to battling misogyny that has become ingrained in society, suggesting that ‘when it becomes normalised it creates an environment that allows women to be abused.
Another influential female politician is Angela Merkel, who had been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She has been subject to criticisms about her appearance and jokes about her fashion sense, but her influence and power not only in Germany, but throughout the EU, is recognised by all. In her thirteen years tenure Germany has become an international economic superpower, thanks to Merkel’s decisive, risktaking manoeuvres (e.g. changing her stance on Nuclear power after the Fukushima meltdowns). Like all politicians she faces opposition, especially in recent times due to immigration issues in Germany, but her work to strengthen her country and improve the lives of her people cannot be overlooked. Women also sit on the higher ranks in what is considered, the cold-hearted world of business. With a net worth of $144M (Dec. 2014), the Chairwoman and CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi has driven PepsiCo towards a more sustainable business model , which has been the core of her strategy since day one. In the decade since her appointment as CEO in 2006, the stock value of PepsiCo has risen from $60 to $100 and PepsiCo has cemented its position as the largest beverage company in the world. Susan Wojcicki is the woman responsible for YouTube becoming an estimated $90 billion platform. Since being hired in 1999 as Google’s marketing manager, and Wojcicki climbed the corporate ladder to become a crucial part of the firm’s $1.65 billion takeover of YouTube in 2006. Since 2014 she holds the helm of internet’s biggest video platform, also advocating for freedom of speech and personal expression. We cannot forget about the countless influential women throughout history – Mother Teresa, Jeanne d’Arc, Florence Nightingale and many more. What today’s world would be without these women is beyond imagination. It may not be girls who run the world today, but without women the world may not run at all.
In the next edition: • Event report - International Research project Zambia • Event report - AEclipse Study trip: Budapest! • The story of this year’s Active members of AEclipse.
It has been a great academic year so far and in this AEconomic view we look back at some of the many great events we had. Also, with the AEc...
Published on Apr 16, 2018
It has been a great academic year so far and in this AEconomic view we look back at some of the many great events we had. Also, with the AEc...